Recently Featured Essays:  

Escape

by Julie Goodale

As the Arusha traffic falls away, we become a steady stream of safari vehicles, shades of khaki and tan. I have left behind the slopes of Kilimanjaro and my thirty-nine companions, all dressed in red, to head off to my solitary adventure. We drive on roads of red dirt, through vegetation in variations of green, toward our destination. Serengeti. A dream of adventure. A dream of the wild. A dream of Africa.

School uniforms—maroon and white, green, orange and blue— filled with waving arms dot the side of the road. The mothers, and their mothers, flash red, orange, purple, green. Maasai grace by, draped in red and purple. A morning flurry of bee-eaters and sunbirds writ large upon the African landscape.

We were forty on the mountain, plus a hundred porters. Cancer survivors and cancer caregivers.

Read: "Escape"

Deserving Angels

by Nancy Caronia

In high school, I felt cheated by adults and ignored by peers. I had worked hard to pass the school budget, but we lost by less than 100 votes—it was the eighth time in nine years those who were old enough to vote decided against an increase. That year, my senior year, the school board deemed it necessary to cut all extra-curricular activities in order to convince its tax paying citizens to vote in favor of an increased school budget. There were no cheerleading squads, no sports, no musical concerts, no theatrical productions, no chess or folk music clubs—in short, there were no after-school activities. Longwood High School’s halls were quiet in the early evening. My senior class experienced loss as promising football, baseball, and basketball players left for other high schools to compete for college athletic scholarships. Those of us who excelled academically learned that we’d have to find outside activities to show our intellectual and extracurricular diversity.

READ: "Deserving Angels"

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kindness of Oscar and Thomas 

by Eleanor Fitzsimon

On Monday, May 17, 1897, three frightened children were made to stand in line in the high-ceilinged central inspection hall of Reading Jail in Berkshire. The two older boys had been issued with coarse prison uniforms, each one emblazoned with a pattern of broad arrows signifying that the wearer was, for the time being, the property of Her Majesty’s Government. The youngest boy was so slight that no uniform could be found to fit him and he wore instead the ragged clothes that he had been arrested in. Each boy carried his bed sheet under his arm. All three had been convicted of snaring rabbits and were waiting to be escorted to the cells that had been allocated to them.

By chance the three lads were spotted by Prisoner C.3.3 as he was being escorted back to cell number three on landing three of C Block, located high above where they stood. A compassionate man, he was moved by the abject vulnerability of these children; they reminded him of his own two sons, aged ten and almost twelve at the time, although thoughts of his own beloved boys caused him nothing but anguish. Prisoner C.3.3 was due for release within two days, but the crime for which he had been convicted carried with it the probability that he would never see his sons again. He missed them dreadfully: ‘I envy other men who tread the yard with me. I am sure that their children wait for them’, lamented the man we know as Oscar Wilde.

Read: "The Kindness of Strangers"